After at least three years, one of my fireball lilies blooms. These plants rarely bloom, but when they do the flowers can be quite eye catching.
Since I was in high school I’ve had a small colony of Scadoxus multiflorus, descended from a single bulb I found growing wild in the Galay house in Kidapawan. My mother tells me my great-grandmother, the late Brigida Reyes Galay, once kept a bed of them when my mother was still a little girl. What became of that bed she couldn’t remember, but what is certain is that the plant is not common in Kidapawan, and no one else in the family likes flowers enough to have bought this bulb. In all likelihood my colony is descended from a leftover of my great-grandmother’s bed. This plant thus has a lot of sentimental value to me.
The bulb that flowered is one of the main bulb’s older offshoots (the biggest offshot right now). This is its first time to blossom, and this is the first time another bulb other than the main bulb produced a flower.
The flowering comes as I move the colony bed near our garage here in Toscana. I’ve been moving the colony constantly for the past few years all over our house, but the bulbs always end up being unhealthy. That one of them bloomed this time tells me this may be where I should finally set up the colony’s bed.
(Published in Nomads Quarterly, March 2015)
Apat hanggang anim na Budots
Tatlong ‘Audience members’
Limang tauhang anino sa likod ng tabing (may dalawa o higit pang babae)
Isang Budots biker
Tagpo: Sa isang maliit na proscenium stage, ang backdrop ay isang tabing kung saan maaninag ang mga tauhang anino. Maganap ang dula sa espasyo sa baba ng entablado, pagitan ng walang gamit na entablado at ng mga naganood. Bago makaabot sa mga naganood may tatlong upuan nakaharap sa entablado.
Pagsimula ng dula nakaupo na ang mga ‘Audience members’ sa mga upuan na ito.
Cue SFX: Ethnic flute. Tapos bigla mag-Budots.
(Habang nagatugtog ang Budots, papasok ang mga Budots, naga budots-budots.)
(May mahalong mga tunog galing sa TV, radyo, pelikula, at internet sa Budots. Kada may mahalo na ganito, mag-moro-moro ang mga Budots ng pinanggalingan ng tunog. Halimbawa: isang Budots (lalaki na mataas ang buhok) kay magdala ng Shan Cai galing sa Meteor Garden pag may mahalong sigaw na ‘Daoming Si!’ sa tugtog. Pagkatapos ng moro-moro magbalik sila ng budots-budots)
(Pagkatapos mag budots-budots ng sandali, may mahalo sa Budots na ingay ng chainsaw. Manigas ang mga Budots. Ilang sandali mapakita sa tabing ang anino ng lalaki na nagaputol ng puno gamit ang chainsaw)
(Biglang balik sa Budots pagkawala ng anino. Magbalik din ang mga Budots ng budots-budots.)
(Halo ulit mga tunog galing sa mass media na sabayan ng moro-moro)
(Manigas ulit ang mga Budots pagkahalo sa Budots ng ungol ng iyot. Sa tabing, ipakita ang kalaswa na anino ng mag-uyab nagaiyot. Pagkatapos ng sandaling ganito, budots-budots ulit.)
(Ang isang moro-moro na gawin ng mga Budots: prosesyon ng pari at mga kaabag papunta sa entablado, ang isa kunyari pari. Halo sa budots ang tunog ng Gregorian chanting. Pagkatapak sa entablado ng kunyari pari, mag-lipsync siya ng recorded na pagbasa sa orihinal na Latin ng ensiklikang Humanae Vitae. Tapos nito, budots-budots ulit.)
(Manigas ulit sila pagpakita sa tabing ng gina-torture na tao. Mag-alingawngaw sa buong entablado ang mga hiyaw nitong gina-torture. Tapos ng ilang sandali nitong torture, budots-budots ulit at halong moro-moro)
(Dito dapat may moro-moro ng pinaka-sikat na pelikula o teleserye.)
(Pagkatapos ng moro-moro, ipakita sa tabing ang anino ng babae na ginatorture at ginagahasa. Pero hindi maghinto ng budots-budots ang mga Budots. Mag iba nuon ang music: maghalo ang hiyaw ng ginatorture na babae, ng paghapak at pagungol ng nagagahasa, at ang Budots. Ginasaksak ang babae ng isa pang lalaki bukod sa nagarape sa kanya, pero hindi siya saksakin sa makapatay na bahagi. Tapos ng sandali na ganito, ipasok sa loob ng nakabukaka na babae ang kutsilyo, at grabe kakilabot ang sigaw ng babae. Pero masapawan itong sigaw ng Budots, na mas maglakas pa pagpasok ng Budots biker, ang speaker na nakakabit sa bike nito nagatugtog ng kalakas na Budots.)
(Mag-ikot-ikot ang biker ng bike niya sa palibot ng mga Budots ilang beses.)
(Pagtigil ng biker, magmoro-moro ulit: Ngayon naman may isang Budots na nakatayo sa entablado, mag-lipsync ng pagbigkas ng Surah At-Tawba 71 mula sa Quran sa orihinal na Arabic. Pagkatapos niya, sigawan siya bigla ng isang Budots ng ‘Osama Bin Laden!,’ at mag-budots-budots ulit)
(Pagkatapos nito, maglabas ang biker mula sa entablado, at maninigas ang mga Budots. Tigil ang Budots.)
(Magtayo ang tatlong ‘Audience members’ at magharap sa Audience.)
AM 1: (tila naunawaan ang kahulugan ng dula) Hala. Ang Budots, pop culture. Makalunod, makasanay ng katotohanan…
AM 2: (naunawaan din) Tama! Ng sigaw ng problema…
AM 3: (naunawaan din) O di kaya mga salita ng katotohanan ng sangkatauhan…
AM 1: Makalunod, makahalo…
AM 3: Una maghanga tayo sa mga marinig natin, mapaisip, maniwala…
AM 2: Magulat tayo, malain, matakot…
AM 1: Pero makalimutan naman din natin kay malingaw na naman tayo!
AM 2: Masanay…
AM 3: Mainip…
AM 1: Tapos hanap na naman tayo ng ibang mahalo sa Budots!
AM 2: Kaya ang mga problema na marinig natin sa balita o madaanan natin sa buhay, pang-halo lang sa Budots!
AM 3: Ang mga sermon, ang mga pilosopiya, ang mga matutunan sa mga mali at mga tagumpay sa buhay, pang singit lang sa budots!
AM 1: (inis) Ah!
AM 2: (sindak) Ah!
AM 3: (walang pag-asa) Ah!
(Magtinginan ang tatlo)
(Magpatuloy sila ng ‘Ah,’ na dahan-dahan magkaroon ng kumpas. Tapos magtugtog ulit ang Budots, na sabay sa kanilang mga ‘Ah.’ Sasayaw ang tatlo kasabay ng mga Budots.)
(Magpasok ulit ang Budots biker, ngayon may dalang maliit na watawat, kung saan nakasulat ang mga salita: ‘BUDOTS 43VR’)
AM 1: Pirandello!
AM 2: Artaud!
AM 3: Brecht!
(Ulit-ulitin ito ng tatlo at dahandahan ulit magkakumpas, na magsabay sa Budots: Artaud-Brecht-Brecht-Pirandello-Brecht-Brecht. Mag-budots-budots sila habang ginakanta ito.)
(Habang naga-budots-budots, dahan dahan maglabas ang lahat sa entablado. )
My mother’s style of cooking adobo, which I and my brother grew up with, is unique to her within the Galay family. For purposes of documentation I’m referring to it as ‘Tetes Adobo’ (my mother, Tess, is called ‘Tetes’ in the family), though she herself calls it ‘adobong tuyo’ (dry adobo).
I always say the recipe is the only effect Martial Law ever had on our family: my mother attributes the recipe to Kris Aquino,who only became a celebrity because her mother emerged as president following the Marcos-Aquino war.
But the recipe is really much older than that. Filipino Adobo’s long, complicated history really goes back to when pork was simply simmered in salt and vinegar and flavoured with basic spices, with soy sauce only later replacing salt. Tetes adobo is thus a very primitive adobo.
Here’s the recipe.
1 kilo pork belly cubes (fatty)
1 ½ head garlic
Crushed black pepper
Cooking oil (vegetable)
Leftover (bahaw) rice (for fried rice)
- Peel the garlic and crush to a fine pulp
- Add pepper, salt, MSG and/or Seasoning to the garlic while on the mortar
- Add vinegar to the mortar, and pour the resulting mixture on the pork cubes.
- Add more vinegar to the mixture by rinsing the mortar with it. Add this (and more vinegar if necessary) until the pork is submerged.
- Allow to marinate for a short while (a few hours)
- Pour mixture on deep frying pan. Put frying pan on fire.
- Cook slowly until the mixture’s liquid evaporates.
- Add cooking oil. This part is optional – cooking oil from this process can be kept to make future frying more delicious.
- Allow to cook until golden brown. Stir constantly to avoid garlic sticking to bottom of pan.
- If not added with cooking oil, cook until oils come out of pork, then until golden brown.
- Take pork and garlic flakes from frying pan. Set oil aside. Adobo, with garlic flakes, are ready to serve
Since this adobo is dry, the crispy garlic crumbs left on the frying pan make a good side dish on their own. The spices sticking to the pan can also be used to make a unique fried rice.
- Add rice to the frying pan after cooking adobo.
- Over fire, scrape garlic that has stuck on the pan off and mix with the rice.
- When rice is sufficiently golden, and no more garlic is on the frying pan, put out fire.
- Serve rice.
Recommended sawsawan and partners:
- Guinamos (fermented fish paste) with kalamansi
- Burong mangga
The Guinamos and kalamansi sawsawan is an innovation of my father, an Ilocano (Ilocanos have a penchant for guinamos). He used this dip to tone down the oiliness of the fatty pork. This fusion of Tagalog and Ilocano cuisine is one of my father’s few contributions to my family’s recipes, and a rare remnant of the days when we used to live in my father’s house. It is an exquisitely nostalgic dish for me.
(Published in the Dumaguete MetroPost 29 May, 2016)
Kidapawan was still tense from the recent shootings when I came home to it on Election Day. The location where the rally of April 1 took place was marked by a large tarpaulin.
It spelled out my hometown’s general sentiment on the incident:
‘Do not disturb my Kidapawan!’
I had an inkling of this feeling from Kidapawanons online even before going home. The blockade had been hurting local business and disrupting transportation in Kidapawan, and yet less than half of the protesting farmers were from the city. They had been protesting against the provincial government in Amas, not the city government, but they chose to stage the rally near Kidapawan’s border with Makilala on the other side of the city from the Provincial Capitol – Kidapawan was literally caught in between. And the city has been dragged to the spotlight against its will since.
One of the two confirmed deaths, Enrico Fabligar, was from Kidapawan, and was only a bystander. And yet the absurdity of his death – a poignant demonstration of how uninvolved Kidapawan was as much a victim as the farmers – was being drowned by the louder ‘Bigas Hindi Bala’ uproar.
‘The losses are huge,’ mayor Joseph Evangelista puts it simply on an interview with online news site Rappler.
Evangelista had to balance the interest of Kidapawan, the demands of the farmers, and the directives of the provincial government, and most of the Kidapawanons I talked to believed the mayor handled the situation as best as he could. City Hall insiders tell me the mayor was functioning as mediator between Amas and the farmers, but the protest leaders were refusing to sit down.
Throughout and after the debacle the mayor was articulating the general sentiments of Kidapawan’s residents. An open letter condemning the city’s negative publicity, penned by his office, stands in front of the city hall and is covered with signatures.
Come May 9 support for Evangelista translated to votes: he was re-elected mayor of Kidapawan with over 46,000 votes, almost the entire voting population of the city. And this in a city which often abstains when a candidate is unopposed.
In contrast, at over 25,000 votes the governor of North Cotabato, Emmylou ‘Lala’ Taliño-Mendoza, got just over half of that figure in Kidapawan. Over 10,000 votes from Lala’s provincial capital went to her opponent Lito Monreal, who is virtually unheard of in North Cotabato politics. This was clearly a protest vote against her.
While her term as governor has generally been well received in Kidapawan, the shooting has evidently caused Lala some support in her province’s only city.
‘She had been too bureaucratic,’ ‘she was being inaccessible when she needed to be there,’ ‘she was too proud.’ Along with these murmurs in the city were wild rumours that she had in fact withheld the distribution of relief rice in order to help boost the candidacy of a political ally. The governor had earlier faced allegations in Kidapawan of manipulating the price of rubber, a major product in the province. While the rumours are unlikely, she has undoubtedly gained the tendency to attract unpleasant speculations.
‘She should have just talked to the farmers,’ as one tricycle driver I chatted with put it.
From his tricycle I saw more posters and tarpaulins on Kidapawan’s iconic island of pine trees: ‘Kidapawan loves Peace and Progress.’ ‘No one from Kidapawan was in the rally, but Kidapawan had to sacrifice.’ ‘Do not disturb my Kidapawan.’
Tagum the Scapegoat
And one sign hints at the reason why Lala has accrued such ill-will in the city. ‘To serve and Protect,’ it reads, with the subtitle ‘We salute you.’
‘Luoy ang mga pulis (I feel sorry for the police)’ says manong driver.
My godfather Alexander Tagum, the provincial police director who led the rally dispersal, is a son of Kidapawan. Many of the police deployed – and who were injured – were from Kidapawan. It was not difficult to see why Kidapawanons sympathize with the police – their own sons and daughters – more than the farmers.
‘Alex was used as a scapegoat,’ as one relative put it. Lala earned some flak for the way she handled the shooting, but she did not get as much damage as ninong Alex. Relieved from his post pending investigations, Tagum’s career now faces a bleak future in light of the imminent return to power of the Piñols – he had a verbal tiff with then governor Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Piñol when he was still Kidapawan’s police director. ‘Tagum’s only fault,’ says the relative, ‘is he can be too gentle for a police officer. Hopefully Duterte won’t be too vindictive.’
The Duterte Factor
The election of the country’s first Mindanawon president complicates post-shooting Kidapawan politics further. The Duterte camp was very much involved in the incident: he is seen as being close with the Left, which has been accused of orchestrating the rally; he has publicly castigated Lala for her handling of the situation; and he has Robin Padilla.
His ties with the Piñol family, through its most prominent member Manny, mean the very idea of him is a key factor in any political situation in the province.
Any bid for public office by a Piñol is consequently seen as implicitly with Duterte’s backing, and with him in the land’s highest post this is a huge boost for the clan. Combined with the potential for being a protest vote post-shooting against Lala, the Piñols are in for a comeback.
In this election they had already made significant gains across North Cotabato: Joselito Piñol successfully transitioned from mayor to vice mayor of M’lang, and Gerardo and Socrates Piñol got hold of seats in Lala’s provincial board.
And most shocking for Kidapawan, Bernardo ‘Jun’ Piñol made a remarkable comeback as Vice Mayor after a few terms in the wilderness since being routed out of his congressional seat some years ago.
Jun Piñol’s election may have been a protest vote for Lala’s handling of the shooting or a show of solidarity with Digong, but the clear victim of his comeback is the defeated incumbent, Rodolfo Gantuangco.
Then again, Gantuangco was practically a political sitting duck. The former mayor of Kidapawan was cast in a negative light by the 8 million peso deficit in the local coffers when he turned over the Municipio to Evangelista. And in the previous election the bid of his brother Nido to unseat Evangelista damaged him both ways: he was seen as disloyal to Evangelista, his running mate, to those who thought it was his plan to make his brother run (and he thereby alienated the Evangelista vote); and he was seen as so untrustworthy his own brother endorsed his opponent as vice mayor.
They now say in Kidapawan that the third casualty during the shooting was Gantuangco’s political career.
‘And now Jun Piñol is poised to run for mayor when Evangelista’s term ends,’ a city hall insider tells me. As Piñol and Evangelista are not the best of political friends, a Piñol mayoralty can be the worst situation for Evangelista’s many projects. This is what is making the people in the Municipio most anxious: Evangelista’s term has seen the city grow rapidly, and a change in administration can waste all the progress. ‘But politicians can learn to be civil,’ notes my insider with hope.
Rice among the Bullets
The aftermath of the shooting isn’t entirely bloody for Kidapawan though. Evangelista’s able handling of the situation is a boost for him too, and when his term ends his bid for Amas can be much easier. For all the trouble it had to put up with, the shooting may be a catalyst for Kidapawan to finally see one of its sons elected governor of North Cotabato.
And the return of the Piñols isn’t necessarily a bad thing: a possible Piñol mayoralty, and speculations of a cabinet post for Manny, mean Kidapawan – and North Cotabato for that matter – might get a closer voice to the president’s ear.
At the very least, Kidapawanons admit, the international attention isn’t entirely bad. ‘At least I don’t need to explain where I’m from,’ a friend quips wryly on Facebook. Kidapawan, for whatever reason, is being talked about. And that in itself is certainly a welcome thing.
(Something I wrote in college for I forgot which class)
The Kislap is a sub-category of Filipino flash fiction that the Palanca Awardee Abdon Balde Jr. invented, and exemplified in his book 100 Kislap. The defining characteristics of this type of flash fiction are the maximum of 150 words and the use of the Filipino language (making it the first manifestation of strictly Flash Fiction in Filipino literature). In the book’s preface, Balde explains that what made the Kislap unique was that the word limit did not define the writing process, but the other way around: if the story happened to be less than or equal to 150 words then it happens to be a Kislap.
With just 74 words, “Police Blues” is among the 100 Kislap in the collection. The story, whose text is written in the silhouette of a police badge, begins with a sentence that describes the time (hatinggabi), the antecedent action (pagkatapos naming magtalik), the action that starts the conflict (narining… ang ingay) and the setting (“ibaba” hints that they are on an upper floor). The first paragraph ends with a speculation of the sound being caused by a burglar.
The second paragraph simply reveals how the narrator asks the unnamed partner to remain. Then, in the next paragraph begins its sentences with the actions “bumangon” and “hinugot,” and also mentions the .45 and its holster, hinting the character might be a policeman, or at least someone licensed to hold a gun.
The following paragraph, just one sentence, subconsciously confirms our speculation that the narrator is a man when it mentions “briefs.”
When the narrator mentions that Supt. Nicodemus Ferriols is pointing a gun at him, the climax comes. But somehow, the reader might feel suspicious of something when he addresses the superintendent as “Nicco,” which sounds like a nickname of endearment.
The last paragraph’s first word (taksil) explains everything. To add to this, the words “lalaking yan,” referring to the partner (whom the reader had assumed was a woman) confirm the homosexuality. The ending is humorous because it completely ignores this unexpected fact and continues its theme of policemen.
The main thrust of the twist in the story lies in its skaz. The narrator treats homosexuality as a completely mundane thing, failing to even mention it or hint of it until the end. To the reader who does not have that point of view, it completely defamiliarizes it. The same is done to sex. The narrator casually mentions having sex, and again, to the virgin reader, it cannot help but come as a shock.
The story also has some metonyms in it. The mention of the .45 strengthens the hint that the narrator is a policeman (a notion established by the title and by his initiative to come down). The briefs, at first humorously and defamilarizingly but later on glaringly, establish his being a man. To the reader equipped with only an AI level of reading comprehension, these metonyms would not have such meanings.
There are two instances of using free motifs to cause defamiliarization. The first, the slow descent, features (as mentioned) the briefs, which later on proves to be a Chekov’s gun. The second is when Nicodemus Ferriols is introduced, the time when the narrator decides to reveal the setting of the instance (the sofa in the salas). It is evident that this rather out of place exposition is meant to prolong anticipation.
But perhaps the most interesting fact about the story is its brevity. It ends right when that realization by the reader is slightly mocked, leaving the reader feeling somewhat tantalized. He (the reader) has already modified his expectations as to the text, but his modification is now left unfulfilled. The prolonging of achieving pleasure (which the formalists emphasize and which the poststructuralist Lacan would later call jouissance) is very much present in this story.
Clockwise from the left: Star Bakehouse Ticoy from Davao, Espasol from Kidapawan, and Rose-flavoured Turkish delight from Singapore.
These three soft, powdery sweets each represent poignant periods in my life.
I grew up eating the espasol in Kidapawan. It seems the matriarch of the Burgos family, our neighbors in Rizal street (my childhood neighborhood and where my father’s family has lived for generations) is the only one who makes espasol in Kidapawan. Lightly sweet and really not that memorable, the stuff nevertheless grows on you, and like Kidapawan you miss it when you haven’t had it for a long time.
I also grew up eating Star Bakehouse Ticoy, which I would get to taste whenever someone in the family goes to Davao and brings some back. Among all the tikoy brands available in Davao this is the only one without any filling, just the way I like it. it has a faint vanilla-banana flavour, mellowed by the powder.
My current box of Turkish delight I bought from Singapore in 2013. The strong rose-flavour faintly reminds me of Bandung, which I loved drinking when I was there. Intensely sweet, Turkish delight is definitely one of the tastes of my Singapore summer.
I eat these three sweets together on special occasions with tea, often Earl Grey. Eat them together in one mouthful and you get a taste of my life.
But increasingly that has become more and more difficult to do. Burgos, I hear, rarely makes espasol these days because it is such a labour-intensive product. Whenever I go home to Kidapawan it’s never available in Mega Market, the only place where one can buy it. Similarly Star Bakehouse Ticoy is getting ridiculously difficult to find in Davao. It’s usually displayed on the hopia section of most convenience stores and groceries, but it’s becoming rarer and rarer. And my box of Turkish delight is down to just three slices, with no prospect of buying a new box. This photo was taken in 2014, the last time I had this combination.
Why are memories so difficult to keep?
(This is a translation from the Tagalog of a section of Ferdinand Bergonia’s 2004 book on Kidapawan, Lungsod na Pinagpala: Kidapawan, the founding book of Kidapawan historiography. This is one of the book’s most informative portions. I own no part of the original material, and all rights to it belong to Bergonia. This translation, done as loyally to Bergonia’s as possible, is reproduced merely to spread information on Kidapawan’s history.)
In 1964, under the leadership of Mayor Emma B. Gadi, the Sanggunian Pambayan (municipal council) passed a resolution No. 84, allowing Speaker-ProTempore the Hon. Congressman Salipada K. Pendatun to declare Kidapawan a city and make it a summer resort in the southern part of Mindanao.
At the time Kidapawan was already a prosperous town with an income of P400,000.00. On the same year a resolution No. 210 which again asked the Hon.Congressman Salipada K. Pendatun to sponsor a bill in Congress that would make Kidapawan a ‘Chartered City.’ The congressman believed the bill to be a priority in Congress.
The Sangguniang Pambayan believed that cityhood would help in Kidapawan’s progress, it would bring many opportunities, and the capabilities of the Kidapaweños would be utilized.
on August 10, 1978, the Sangguniang Bayan of Kidapawan once again passed a resolution No. 78-076, which authorized mayor Augusto R. Gana to elect a member of the council to gather data needed in making Kidapawan a city. The following cities were visited because of an important purpose:
- The City of San Pablo
- The City of Cabanatuan
- The City of Lipa
- The City of Gingo-og
- The City of Cotabato
- The City of Canlaon
- The City of La Carlota
October 5, 1975, another resolution No. 78-108 was passed to form a committee to draft for Kidapawan’s cityhood. This was represented by the following officials:
- Councilor Arturo E. Amador Jr – Chairman
- Councilor Andres L. Tamayo – member
- Councilor Modesto L. Navales – member
- Councilor Cesar M. Sabulao – member
Another resolution with the number 78-109 was passed on this year that formed a committee to collate different reports about the different travels undertaken to gather information.
in 1995 the Aus AID (Austrailian Agency for International Development) helped the Cotabato Provincial Physical Framework Plan which urges the proclamation of Kidapawan as small city before 2002. its purpose encompassed the following:
- Trading and Commercial Center
- Transportation and Communication Hub
- Tourism Destination Site
- Politic-Administrative Center
- Manpower Development Center
This was unanimously endorsed, through the Provincial Land Use Committee (PLUC) by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board) in 1996.
March 26, 1996 – members of the legislative body under the leadership of mayor Luis P. Malaluan, MD conducted research and studies on the city of Santiago, the first city created under the Local Government Code.
April 26, 1996 – Mayor Luis P. Malaluan passed Executive Order no. 96-014 creating Task Force Kidapawan Cityhood. Another Sangguniang Bayan resolution no. 174-96 was passed, requesting congressman Gregorio Andolana to author a bill in Congress that would make Kidapawan a city, attached with the endorsement of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan dated June 20, 1996. House Bill 9290 was the result the Hon. Gregorio Andolana produced with on that same year.
This caught the ears of the Kidapaweños. On October 25, 1997, news of the successful cityhood of Tagum came; a delegation led by mayor Malaluan visited the place. A group under the leadership of MPDC (Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator) Edgar Paalan soon formed and made (?) to prepare the complete documents so that it (?) may be passed promptly to the committee of the Secretariat, committee on Local Government (?), and the lower house of Congress; it was passed on November 12 1997.
While preparations were under way, another Sangguniang Bayan resolution No. 272-97 dated October 30, 1997 was passed endorsing House Bill no. 9290 entitled ‘An Act Converting the Municipality of Kidapawan into a Component City of Cotabato Province.’
The first public hearing was held at the Notre Dame of Kidapawan College on November 24, 1997. Unfortunately the contingency of the Hon. Ciriaco Alfelor, Chairman, Committee on Local Government of the lower house was left behind by its flight to Davao, and it stayed in Cebu instead of attending the public hearing on Kidapawan’s cityhood.
The welcome party led by former congressman Gregorio Andolana returned to Kidapawan (NDKC Gym) and symbolically received the keys and documents in the name of the committee on Local Government.
On the afternoon of the same day mayor Luis P. Malaluan and the first councilor the Hon. Rodolfo Gantuangco flew to Cebu and called on the phone to wake Congressman Alfelor and arrange a meeting in the lobby of the Water Front Hotel.
On the 20th of December 1997, the second public hearing was held. This was attended by a delegation of 3,000 representing different sections of the community and the committee on Local Government of the lower house led by the Hon. Alfelor and the Hon. Navarro.
Aside from the Position Letter signed by several individuals and associations, the day also saw the dominant ‘YES’ which served as a sign of the fate the premier Municipality would have.
The ‘bid’ was approved by the committee with the notation laying out the repeated broad consultation to be held. February 12, 1998 – the former President Fidel Valdez Ramos signed Republic Act 8500 which served as the law and declaration creating Kidapawan a component city of the province of Cotabato.
The first conference which involved a group critical of Kidapawan’s cityhood and of the city authorities was held on March 6, 1998 at Caroland Cafe, Kidapawan City. No objections or compromises arose from the said gathering.
On March 13, 1998, at exactly 3:30 in the afternoon, a conference with a larger group, composed of different sectors including the Diocese of Kidapawan, faced representatives of the city government and discussed issues and motives behind the proposed cityhood. Some issues were criticized, and some condemnation was raised on the insufficient consultation and information on the ‘bid’ and the plans pertaining to it.
By the afternoon, the issue was referred to the bottom (?). Bishop Romulo Valles, D.D., Bishop of Kidapawan, voiced out his opinion that the ‘bid”s deficiencies were not conceptual but procedural. The gathering pushed for further and more vigorous information dissemination on the merits and disadvantages of the ‘bid’ until the day of the plebiscite and the establishment of the right to participate afterwards.
On March 21, 1998, Republic Act 8500 was ratified with a convenient 76% result. Only 47% of total registered voters turned out in the precincts.
On April 13, 1998, the ‘City Transition Plan Committee,’ composed of several residents and groups was formed. The draft plan for transition was presented for deliberation on their first meeting, held one June 3, 1998.